Save our winter skin… Natural anti-ageing tips
As the air turns colder you may start to feel your skin dry up and feel flaky and itchy, the last thing you need is to feel like an alligator when you shake someone’s hand! Many of us suffer from dry skin as the inclement weather sets in but it may surprise you to know that the average skin cream and protective lip balm will probably be doing you more harm than good. Fortunately there is a natural alternative to just about everything so its perfectly possible to boost your immunity, and look after your skin naturally.
Drink up! Remember to drink enough water, it’s easy in summer when we’re feeling hot but in winter we can forget to keep hydrated.
Wash less! Most of us wash too often and it’s extremely drying for the skin, when you do bathe, make sure it’s in luke-warm water not boiling hot.
Dechlorinate the water. Our water is often very hard and also full of chlorine, often people who have eczema and irritated skin can try every cream and potion looking for a natural cure, change their diet and whole regime and yet still have the problem, until they invest in a simple device to remove the chlorine from shower or bath water. You can get a de-chlorination ball that hangs from the bath taps and a shower filter which fits onto most shower attachments and will remove 100 per cent of chlorine from the water, they will last up to a year depending on how often you bathe (the shower filter crystals turn a darker colour when it needs to be replaced) and are fantastic value, the water feels softer and our skin should heal.
Ditch the soap. Most conventional soaps contain lye and are very drying to the skin, unless you are very mucky you don’t need soap! Instead put a teaspoon of coconut in the water (more on that later) and use porridge oats instead! Fill a little muslin bag or thin sock with porridge oats and run the water through it, you can also use the little bag instead of soap, oats are antibacterial and very soothing and healing. Instead of soap try using organic oils blends – you can apply a fine layer before you bathe or you can also apply after as a moisturiser. You can add a couple of drops of essential oil such as lavender or rose to the little sock or bag and indeed directly into the bath water. If you are very sensitive dilute essential oils in milk first and be aware that essential oils can have certain contra-indications so avoid when pregnant or breastfeeding. Avoid bubble bath though and conventional bath oil or bath cubes which again will dry out the skin.
Lubricate the skin. Once you’ve patted yourself dry apply moisturiser to keep that moisture in your skin and the cheapest and finest you’ll find is coconut oil, you can get this from any Asian food store but far better to buy virgin coconut oil. If you’re thinking (especially the guys!) I don’t want to smell like a beach babe, don’t worry, virgin coconut oil has very little smell, its the synthetic smell you’ll be remembering. Coconut oil solidifies at high temperatures so just keep a long handled teaspoon in the tub, as soon as you drop a 10 pence size dollop in the palm of your hand. Coconut oil is very soothing, healing, high in lauric acid and is good for all skin types including babies and children, it’s also great to cook with.
Get oily! Forget conventional moisturisers for the face and body, most are pretty drying to the skin and cost a fortune, they also contain a hair-raising number of synthetic chemicals, sodium laurel sulphate, parabens and preservatives. I love the daily face oil from Inlight (pictured here) but virtually any oil will work well, hemp oil is lovely on the face, even olive oil is fine though perhaps heavy for everyday use. Keep an emergency bottle of olive oil in your handbag it will work as a cleanser, a moisturiser and is great for removing make-up. If you haven’t tried facial oils by the way you’re missing a trick! They’re very healing and balancing for the skin and you need only a tiny amount. A great anti-ageing oil can be made simply –
Anti-ageing Protective fecial oil. 50ml rosehip oil mixed with 50 ml sweet almond oil 2 drops lavendar oil 2 drops rose oil 1 drop frankincense
Get lippy. Forget conventional lip balms, bizarrely many can actually exacerbate the problem they’re trying to solve, dry chapped lips. Choose a one hundred per cent natural lip balm or make your own using shea butter, beeswax or coconut oil.
Keep cool. Most of us seal up our homes with triple glazing, have the radiators on full blast and wonder why we get dry skin and coughs and colds. You’ll save money by turning the heating down a bit and putting on a jumper! If you heat your house too much your blood vessels can dilate, and then a cycle of itching and tingling can start. Cool skin will be less itchy. For lots more information on natural skincare and recipes to make your own simple concoctions check out my book – Look Great naturally – without ditching the lipstick (Hay House)